With the deepest water in the South Atlantic, Charleston offers a maintained harbor of -45 feet (13.7 meters) of depth at mean low tide throughout the main shipping channel and -47 feet (14.3 m) in the entrance channel. A five to six foot tidal lift provides even deeper access for several hours during the day. The following chart illustrates Charleston’s big ship handling capability throughout the day:
|Vessel Drafts||43 Ft||44 Ft||45 Ft||46 Ft||47 Ft||48 Ft|
|Vessel Movement Hours Per Day||24 Hrs||18 Hrs||14 Hrs||10 Hrs||6 Hrs||2 Hrs|
Average 1.5 knots.
In addition, there are virtually no air draft restrictions in the Port of Charleston. Columbus Street Terminal has no air draft limitations. Vessels access the port’s largest facility, the Wando Welch Terminal, as well as the new terminal under construction at the former Navy Base, by sailing underneath the Ravenel Bridge, which allows for 186 feet (56.7 m) of vertical clearance at mean high water. Ships sailing to North Charleston Terminal transit underneath the Don Holt Bridge, with 155 feet (47.24 m) of air draft.
Air draft 186 ft (56.6m) MHW
Don Holt Bridge (North Charleston Terminal Only)
Air draft 155 ft (47.24m) MHW
NOAA 11524 and 1 1 526.
Required. Charleston Branch Pilot’s Association.
U.S. Coast Guard regulations apply.
Available at dock.
Harbor Pilots: VHF Channels 13, 14, 16
Moran Towing: VHF Channel 19A
McAllister Towing: VHF Channel 7A